DOHA: The Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), the country’s sole public sector entity providing tertiary heath care has come under fire, with complaints pouring in from citizens and residents about repeated medical errors at its hospitals.
The grievances being aired through the country’s official media over the past few days have prompted several leading Qatari writers and columnists to call for more transparency and immediate action from the HMC authorities.
A popular programme on the Qatar Radio named Watanee Al Habeeb- Sabah Al Khair ( Good Morning My Beloved Country) yesterday and last week saw a number of citizens calling in to narrate their harrowing experiences with doctors at HMC. Some callers wept publicly while narrating their stories. The complaints mostly centered around wrong diagnosis and the long waiting time for appointments at the HMC hospitals.
A caller who introduced himself as Abu Hamad said that his daughter had a fall at home and she underwent treatment at Hamad General Hospital. Again she fell at the school and was taken to the hospital for a second time.
The doctors there promised to call back to give an “urgent appointment”
“They called after three or four days and informed that the appointment will be on February 27 next year,” said Abu Hamad.
Another caller-Abu Ahmed- said he went to the HMC with his 15 year old daughter suffering from pain. Since last June until October she was undergoing several medical examinations and finally the doctors told him she was suffering from rabies. Later, he took her abroad and discovered that she had cancer and she underwent an operation.
“What kind of investigation they have been doing for six months,” he wondered. A woman who identified herself as Umm Ali alleged that she lost her 38 year old son due to medical mistakes at HMC.
“Many people are losing their lives and many are getting disabled due to wrong diagnosis” she alleged.
Another woman - Umm Nasser - said she was given appointment in a dental clinic at HMC for her daughter suffering from tooth pain by the end of December.
“We have been calling the hospital again and again but none was responding,” lamented Umm Nasser, while participating in the same programme in an earlier session.
“HMC should be able to correct this negative image. We have invited many HMC officials to come to the radio and we are expecting someone, probably tomorrow (today)” was the concluding remarks of the presenter at yesterday’s programme.
Commenting on the issue Jabir Al Harami, editor-in-chief of Al Sharq wrote in his column yesterday, “Since there are many complaints about wrong treatment, wrong diagnosis and negligence by doctors, HMC needs to be transparent, mistakes in diagnosis could happen in any hospital but what we are facing is a lack of transparency and a failure to respond to people’s complaints.”
Ahmed Al Muhannadi and Rashid Al Oudha, two Qatari columnists of the daily also shared similar sentiments in their columns. Yousuf Al Muslamani, a senior HMC official had said in an interview with local Arabic daily Al Arab last year that HMC has a special committee comprising specialists to investigate complaints about medical errors and it had taken action against several erring practitioners in the past.